A few years ago I met a person with an unusual writing pattern. He would start a book, write about 10 thousand words, share chapters with beta readers, and describe the book over and over again to his friends. He would talk about submitting it to publishers once it was finished, describe the ways he wanted to market it, design his own concept cover art, and then never finish the book. He would abandon the project, move on to the next idea, and the process would repeat.
He didn’t focus on the here-and-now of completing the book. He never slogged through what Sci-Fi/Fantasy novelist Jim Butcher calls the “great swampy middle” to come out the other end of the narrative. He has never experienced the joy of writing “The End.”
This writer was so fixated on the future and what he could do when his book was complete that he failed to experience the here-and-now of writing.
It’s human nature for us to concentrate on the future. What happens when we finish writing our book? How do we get it out into the world? Do we send our work to a small press? A large publishing house? What about getting an agent?
Or do we try independent publishing? Which means we will need to find an editor. And a cover designer. And an interior designer. Or decide to do those tasks ourselves. Oh and don’t forget the need for ISBN numbers, advertising, and setting up a web site. The list could go on and on. We face so many future choices that we might ignore the daily process of writing.
Best-selling author Annie Dillard has said “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” If we spend our days only focused on the future and what we will do once the book is finished, we will never actually finish the book.
Does this mean writers should disregard those future decisions? Of course not. Everything I’ve listed is something a writer should consider. But there is a time and a place for everything. Those future decisions can wait.
While you are writing your book, it’s important to focus on what you need to do in the present moment, the act of putting your thoughts/ideas down on paper. Of creating worlds and reaching out to touch your readers’ imaginations. Of moving forward word-by-word so you can actually finish the book.
When you have the chance to express yourself, seize the opportunity. Write every day that you can. It’s a beautiful way to spend your life.
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Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.
Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.
In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.
In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.
Time to play the game.